MNF: Week 13 Washington-Steelers Betting Preview
Are ya ready for some football! A Monday day partay! Yup, in this crazy coronavirus chaos that is the 2020 season, we bring you Monday Afternoon Football. So rush home from work or your home office to the living room and catch this 5:00 p.m. kickoff between Washington and Pittsburgh. Despite the odd start time, this game comes with a bunch of exciting possibilities and outcomes. As always, all your odds come straight down the pike from our good friends at FanDuel.
The Pittsburgh Steelers find themselves back on the gridiron just five days after an ugly win over the Ravens. In a game postponed multiple times, finally landing on Wednesday afternoon, the Steelers eked out a victory over a Baltimore squad decimated by covid related absences. Multiple starters for the Ravens were sidelined, including reigning MVP LaMar Jackson, running backs Mark Ingram and J.K. Dobbins, and Pro Bowl tight end Mark Andrews. The Ravens ended up as big underdogs after the personnel changes, but Pittsburgh could only get a 19-14 win, missing the cover by five points. Head coach Mike Tomlin called his team’s efforts a “junior varsity” level of play.
On the other side, Washington comes in well-rested and healthy after what will be 11 days between games. The Football Team last played on Thanksgiving Day, handing their NFC East rival Cowboys a 41-16 pounding. The time off has been a good thing as no players missed practice on Thursday.
Although these two teams may look like complete opposites, they share some similarities beyond their very different records. Pittsburgh is undefeated in 11 games this season, while The Football Team can boast coming in undefeated in their last two contests. Sure, Pittsburgh’s 11 wins are almost three times as many as Washington’s four, but both are after a division title.
Despite a 4-7 record, The Football Team sits atop the division with an NFC East lead share. Even with their sparkling form, the Steelers don’t quite have the AFC North wrapped up yet as the Browns hang around with nine wins. That being said, a Pittsburgh win clinches a playoff spot. From the looks of it, the only way Washington is getting to the postseason is by winning the tire fire that is the NFC East.
Another thing these teams have in common is defense. Both Washington and Pittsburgh possess menacing squads on that side of the ball. The Steelers rank first against the pass allowing just 193.2 yards per game, while Washington is right behind them in the two-hole, giving up only 1.4 more yards a game. They also rank first and second in sacks as Pittsburgh has gotten to the quarterback 41 times this year to The Football Team’s 36. Pittsburgh’s pass-rush will feel the loss of Bud Dupree. A team top pass rusher, Dupree, is out for the season after suffering a torn ACL late in Wednesday’s win over Baltimore.
Despite their dominance, the D-line can’t completely overshadow the Steelers’ secondary. Pittsburgh boasts a league-best 16 interceptions and NFL-high three pick-sixes in 2020. While Washington isn’t in that rarified air, ten picks and an interception return touchdown is nothing to sneeze at.
Neither team is as good at stopping the run but rank third and fourth in total yards given up. Pittsburgh allows only 298.9 yards per game while The Football Team can hold their head high, giving up just under 310 yards each week. It’s on the offensive ends where things get interesting.
The Steelers are the sixth highest-scoring team in the NFL, putting up almost 29 points a game. This number is a little bit perplexing as they are in the bottom half of the league in passing yardage while their rushing attack ranks 25th at under 100 yards per game.
The Football Team is scoring just 21.9 points per game for a bottom-ten league ranking. Despite the less than impressive scoring numbers, Washington puts up only 7.5 yards less than Pittsburgh each game and has improved.
Since Alex Smith has taken over under center, Washington has played its best football of the year. He’s won two of the four-game he’s played, while one of those losses came when Smith came on in relief for an ineffective Kyle Allen. In that game, Smith led The Football Team to ten fourth-quarter points while passing for 325 yards but just fell short of the comeback in a 23-20 loss to the Giants.
His other loss was also a three-point game coming up just short in a comeback against the Lions. Smith led Washington back from a 24-3 deficit on the strength of 390 passing yards. Unfortunately for Washington, a 59-yard Matt Prater field goal sailed through the uprights with zeros on the clock to derail the rally.
Smith’s led Washington to two-straight wins while the club is scoring 27 points per game in their past four with him under center. The former 49er has had some help, though, namely from his rookie running back.
Antonio Gibson has been shouldering the load in the backfield, and the increase in carries has been a success. The first-year back has 209 rushing yards in the last two on 36 carries. His combined attempts are the most for Gibson in a two-game span this season.
Pittsburgh should have most of their team returning from the COVID-19 list, but Maurkice Pouncey may not be one of them. The team’s starting center has yet to be activated, and while running back, James Conner has said he likely won’t play. The talented back is expected to miss his second straight game after a positive COVID-19 test kept him out of the lineup against Baltimore. Defensive end Stephon Tuitt satisfied COVID protocols and will suit up for this one.
- Washington cover +7 points (-114)
- Washington cover alternate spread +4.5 (+130)
- Under 43.5 total points scored (-108)
- Steelers under 26 points scored (-106)
- Benny Snell Jr rushing or receiving touchdown (+110)
- Alex Smith under 220.5 passing yards (-110)
- Antonio Gibson over 47.5 rushing yards (-110)
Quick Hit Trends
- Steelers are 6-1 against the spread in their past seven games on grass.
- Washington is 1-6 against the spread in its past seven games in Week 13
- Under is 3-0-1 in Steelers’ past four games overall.
- Under is 7-1 in Washington’s past eight vs. teams with a winning record.
- Under is 4-0-1 in Steelers past five games as a favorite
- Under is 4-0 in Washington’s past four games on grass.